Sunscald Damage to Grapes

Grapes May 18, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

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Eric Stafne, Mississippi State University

Sun scald damage to grapes. Photo by Eric Stafne, Oklahoma State University.

Sunscald manifests as a discoloration on grape clusters, which may appear as browning, cracking, or shriveling. Although sunscald is an abiotic disorder (not caused by pests), development of fruit rots also have been associated with sunscald damage.

Sunscald can be a significant problem in regions with intense sunlight, or following extreme heat spikes in cooler regions - particularly after veraison when berries begin to soften. Direct sunlight on unprotected clusters, typically on clusters that began their development in shade, is common. Drought conditions may exacerbate the effects, as well as management practices like leaf removal, summer pruning, and shoot positioning. Row orientation to reduce fruit exposure to the hottest sunlight should be taken into account to decrease the potential for sunscald.

Recommended Resources

Sunscald Damage, Michigan State University

Sunscald Prevention, University of Idaho

Grapevine Problems: Leaf Spots Not Caused by Insects or Disease

Hail Damage to Vines and Fruit

Wind Damage to Grape Vines

Reviewed by Tim Martinson, Cornell University and Fritz Westover, Texas AgriLife Extension

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.